Friday, July 17, 2015

Urban Farming Project in Oslo: Part 2 - Weeding and Sowing Lettuce Seeds

Posted by Amanda Villaruel | |
Yesterday we started our tiny urban farming project, by sowing the first lettuce seeds, which we got from our friendly co-owner Anna.

But before we could sow seeds, we needed to weed. The garden bed was literally overrun by weed, which steal the nutrition from the plants you want to grow. You want the vegetables/fruits/herbs to grow, not the weed ;-)

PS: You can use certain weed for medicinal purposes or even in your cooking, if you're interested.

Scroll down to read about what we learned!
Urban farming project: Weed first before we can plant some seeds
Urban farming project: Weed first before we can plant some seeds
Urban dyrking i Oslo: luking før såing

Before we started weeding, we made a deal with Anna about which part of the garden bed we wanted with regards to avoiding too much shade. She wanted to plant tomatoes, that grows upwards, while we wanted to grow vegetables that grow more side ward.

A Newbie's Step By Step

1. We were three people who dived into the task of removing most of the weed, using about 1 hour to turn a weed palace into an attractive come-and-seed-me garden bed. The garden bed is approximately 3 meters long and 1 meter wide.

The challenge for me and my boyfriend, who are newbies, was to avoid removing plants that weren't weed. The previous owners had abandoned some plants (potatoes, sage, parsley, celery and sunflowers).

You know, in the heat of the moment, anything can happen. But fortunately, the desired plants on the garden bed were almost untouched at the end.
Boyfriend enjoying

If we were unsure, we smelled it. Was there a familiar smell? If that didn't help, we asked Anna, who has more experience than us with gardening.

Except for being stung in the ass by thistle plants and temporary back pain, I found it satisfying and a bit fun to remove the weed ;-)

PS. Use gloves to remove prickly thistle plants, or use its surrounding weed as your 'protection' to lessen the stinging (grab the surrounding weed with the thistle in the middle, in one grip and remove).

2. The next step was to turn the soil, said Anna. This makes the soil more suitable for planting and helps you to remove small bits of weed and other undesired objects more easily.

For instance, I found plastic in the soil and moldy orange slices. There was only one available small spade, but we found two wooden bricks that we also used to turn the soil. Talking about improvising! :-)

Use the spade or whatever you have to dig into the soil, lifting it up and flipping it.
Urban farming project in Oslo: turning the soil with spade and wooden bricks
Urban gardening project in Oslo: turning the soil with spade and wooden bricks
Urban dyrking i Oslo: vender jorda med spade og trebiter
3. OK, the weed is removed and the soil turned.

Now, comes the best thing! Sowing the seeds :-) But before you do that, you need to water the soil. Anna blended water with liquid fertilizer in a watering can. Then me and my boyfriend watered the area next to where we wanted to plant the seed, in rows.

4. Sow the seeds!

Follow the seed package instruction. How deep do you sow? Distance between plants? Distance between rows? 

The lettuce seeds we sowed required 1 cm in sow depth. Along the watered stripe, we dug holes using our fingers and added a couple of seeds in each hole. I don't know if this is the right way, but we did it anyway. We covered them with soil and now...we'll see.. if anything grows out! I'm nervous right now.

We'll be returning tomorrow to water the seeds, and setting up markers :-) And the red beet seeds arrived in the mail today. We'll try to sow them even if it's a bit late. The beets will maybe make it before the frost sets in.
Watering and planting lettuce seeds in Oslo
Watering and planting lettuce seeds in Oslo
Vanning og planting av plukksalatfrø i Oslo

What we learned:

  • How to remove weed and how to turn the soil
  • Do some research on the plant you want to grow 
  • Do some research on companion planting
Urban farming project in Oslo: Day 2 - weeding and planting lettuce seeds
Urban gardening project in Oslo: Day 2 -- weeding and planting lettuce seeds

After Anna told about how compatible tomatoes and sunflowers are together, I had to research this more. Vegetables and herbs have 'good neighbors' and 'bad neighbors'.

In the world of gardening, this is called companion planting. By planting certain vegetables and/or herbs together, they'll help each other by providing nutrients in the soil, attracting beneficial pests and scaring off the harmful ones.

To me this sounds like natural pest control. Marigold for instance is a good neighbor to any plant, while potatoes shouldn't be planted close to tomatoes to mention one.

For more info, search online for 'vegetable companion planting chart' or just 'companion planting [+ vegetable you want to plant].'

Have your say about what you just read :)

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